Tag Archives: Rowing

True Life: I’m a Rower.


I’m an ex-addict, an ex-masochist… an ex-rower. I get it. I miss it. It’s magical. Part of the magic is how inaccessible it is. The rower’s world is a little bit of a secret. Most people don’t know what an erg is, where the boathouse lives, or what Middletown looks like at five in the morning. “It just takes a lot of time, a lot of coffee, some napping, and a little crazy,” according to Nick Petrillo ’14.

I sat down with some rowers. You may have seen them around. They’re the kids on campus that live in exclusively Patagonia and definitely woke up before you this morning. I had them help me unpack the absurdities, and get to the “This is why.”

We were all drawn in for different reasons. It appeals to the tall, or the incredibly small, and often the high school athlete resisting the NARP temptations of college-life. Rowing is one of the few sports that have a novice team. Flocks of freshman come learn to row each fall. Crew is year round, round the clock commitment. Fall season is made up of the longer, five-kilometer headraces. During winter the team is tied to the erg and resides in the Exley stairwell, all to prep their bodies and earn speed for spring racing. The spring is the season of two-kilometer sprints. The springtime elevates in intensity. Races are nearly every weekend and sleep comes on occasion. It’s also the most exciting. You line up alongside the other boats with such anticipation and fear, and then seven or so minutes later you barely remember where you came from.